TVonics DTR-HD500 review

TVonics builds upon a previously good track record with this accomplished PVR. If you're after a Freeview HD solution, consider this Tested at £280.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

A clever design and a well-presented PVR, which definitely deserves an audition


  • +

    Interesting design

  • +

    nice assortment of features

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    superb SD and HD pictures


  • -

    Can be a little slow to respond

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Usually, the main specifications of a Freeview HD PVR include a decent-sized hard drive for storing recordings, an HDMI output, an ethernet socket and a USB input or two.

The 500GB TVonics ticks all these boxes and then some. If you're unlucky enough to own a TV with only one HDMI input but happen to have a DVD/Blu-ray player and an HDMI-wearing games console, then the ‘HD500 is ideal.

The PVR sets itself apart from the rest of the crowd, not just because of its slanted, wedge appearance, but also the presence of two HDMI inputs.

Simple to operate
Useful for some, a moot point for those who own more modern TVs or plug their kit into a home cinema amp, but it's still a nice feature to have.

Head over to the website ( and you can download a software update that enables the machine to transcode Dolby Digital signals as and when the high-definition programmes allow.

The remote isn't the flashiest of wands, but it's perfectly functional and, save for the odd slow response, operating the machine is a pleasant experience.

The EPG is very green, with different shades of the colour representing channels and programmes, but in reality this doesn't make things especially complicated.

Impressive picture quality
Hit the record button to start recording to the hard drive and, where possible, you're also given the option of recording a whole series.

You can then access recordings through the system's library, where you'll find a clear, easily decipherable list of everything stored on the hard drive.

It has to be said that picture quality is mightily impressive and up there with the Award-winning Humax HDR-FOX T2.

Of course, it's always nice to watch pristine high-definition programmes, but even standard-definition looks remarkably stable and detailed.

Images are punchy and vibrant with little sign of picture noise. Sound quality is up to scratch too, with a good sense of solidity and fine detail levels.

TVonics has made some impressive PVRs in the past and it's produced the goods again with this Freeview HD model. The 'HD500 is up there with the very best.

See all our Freeview set-top box reviews

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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